Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nine Years After The Release, "Battlestar Galactica - The Complete Epic Series" Remains The Undisputed Champion of Poorly Manufactured DVD Sets

October 21st, 2003 has remained the definitive date of infamy for fans of the "1978 Battlestar Galactica" series. For it was on this date that Universal Studios unleashed its full hatred and fury for the "1978 Battlestar Galactica" series by releasing the hunk of junk pictured above. Prior to this shameful DVD release, Universal Studios corporate hatred for the "1978 Battlestar Galactica" series had already been simmering for the late 1970s, 1980s, and the 1990s. This "hunk of junk" DVD set was Universal Studios full corporate hatred and fury for the "1978 Battlestar Galactica" series come full circle, and released in a nuclear blast of contempt for the series unprecedented in its intensity.

What makes this DVD set so intensely problematic, is the transfers for every episode, primarily the "3-hour pilot." Heavy grain, dirt, specs, floaties are only a fraction of the problem. In many episodes, primarily "The Long Patrol", you actually see what looks to be "snowy reception." Those pesky white specs which were the hallmark of bad reception television sets with "rabbit ear antennas" in the 1970s. Universal Studios really took us back to the era in which this series originally aired, didn't they? It's as though this transfer of "The Long Patrol" was recorded on VHS tape off of an actual UHF television station broadcast in the early 1980s, and this is the recording we see on the DVD set, transferred to disc.

By simple rational logic, the "3-hour pilot episode" on this DVD set should have been the most lovingly cared for episode during the transfer process. It should have been crystal clear with no imperfections whatsoever. No such luck. Universal Studios dumped the "3-hour pilot episode" onto disc with the typical lack of care evident for all of the other episodes on this DVD set. In short, the "3-hour pilot episode" especially looks like shit on this DVD set. Some scenes look better than others (from mediocre to not tolerable) and the transfer quality shifts back and forth between the two. Turning down the brightness on your tv set hides maybe 50% of the heavy grain, the other 50% is still evident even with the brightness turned down.

I have come to realize through experience and observation with DVD technology, that there is no such thing as an "an accidentally terrible DVD set." When something like this happens, the copyright owner has a personal vendetta against the property being placed on DVD, or just doesn't care one way or the other how the property looks on DVD. Universal Studios is guilty of both in this case. Universal Studios knew precisely what they were doing during the production of this DVD set, and they knew well in advance how the episodes on this DVD set would look to consumers (unacceptable) prior to the release. I believe that the technology existed in 2003 (and technology Universal Studios had full access to as an option) to make the episodes on this DVD set look a hell of alot better than what they turned out to be.

Let's also not forget how "Battlestar Galactica - The Complete Epic Series" rolled off of the assembly line with cracked discs firmly stuck in their storage trays.

As a corporation, I believe Universal Studios allowed its personal, corporate feelings (animosity) towards the "1978 Battlestar Galactica" series dictate what condition this DVD set would be in once it rolled off of the assembly line in 2003.

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